QB Draft Notes: Penix, Daniels, Nix, Raiders

The biggest surprise of the first round was Michael Penix Jr. hearing his name called eighth overall. The Falcons added to their quarterback room with their top selection, despite having signed Kirk Cousins in free agency last month.

The latter was taken aback by the decision, one which he became aware of while Atlanta was on the clock. Cousins is in place as the starter for multiple years, leaving Penix as a long-term developmental option (albeit one who is older than many other Day 1 signal-callers placed in a similar position). To no surprise, plenty of speculation has resulted from the Penix selection.

Owner Arthur Blank is believed to have driven this move, Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda reports. The quarterback position was seen as a sore spot entering the 2024 offseason and while the Cousins signing marked a short-term upgrade, the Penix addition is of course one aimed at future stability under center. Owners are often involved in major moves at the top of the draft board such as this one, but how the 2024 season (and beyond) unfolds with GM Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris at the helm will make for a key storyline vis-à-vis Penix’s path to playing time.

Here are some other QB-related draft notes:

  • Penix was the fourth signal-caller selected on Thursday, but Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes the Heisman runner-up was ranked third on the Falcons’ board. Some in the organization even had Penix second, Breer adds. The Washington alum was seen in some circles as a borderline Day 1 prospect, but his top-10 selection has cemented his status as a central figure in Atlanta’s long-term plans while also helping the value of his rookie contract.
  • As the top of the first round order played according to expectation, Jayden Daniels was selected second overall by the Commanders. That move came about after the team held an unusual evaluation featuring overlapping visits amongst the class’ best quarterbacks. While that limited Daniels’ availability to get face-to-face time on his own in many respects, Breer notes the Heisman winner was the only prospect who was permitted an “extended, exclusive meeting” with new owner Josh Harris. Given that update, it comes as even less of a surprise Washington followed through with drafting Daniels upon turning down trade interest.
  • Bo Nix was often mentioned alongside Penix as part of the 2024 class’ second tier of passers. Denver added him with the No. 12 pick, though, making him the sixth QB to hear his name called. The Broncos had Nix positioned third on their board, per Troy Renck of the Denver Post. With every other Day 1 passer having previously come off the board, that internal ranking is of course a relatively moot point. Nix will nevertheless enter one of the more intriguing quarterback rooms in 2024.
  • One of the suitors left out in terms of QB pursuit was the Raiders, a team known to have been very high on Daniels in particular. Vegas’ decision-makers were of the opinion there was a “sizable gap” between the top tier of Caleb Williams, Daniels and Drake Maye and the other passers, however, as The Athletic’s Vic Tafur reports (subscription required). For that reason, Tafur notes it would have been unlikely the Raiders drafted Penix or Nix even if they were on the board with the 13th pick. In an case, the team added tight end Brock Bowers with its top selection as part of the unprecedented run on offensive players to begin the draft.
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